PE opposes Gqeberha name change suggests ‘Nelson Mandela City’ instead


Nelson Mandela City
Image: Greg Bartley/Camera Press, via Redux

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is objecting to Port Elizabeth’s name change to Gqeberha and will make a formal submission to Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa.

According to Mthethwa, “the South African Geographical Names Act provides for objections within 30 days from members of the public in instances that they are not happy with the gazette name changes.”

During a town hall meeting this week, Mayor Nqaba Bhanga said that the name change had received more than 66,000 complaints and that the less than 400 people who attended public participation meetings for the name changes, not sufficiently represent the area’s 1.4 million residents.

The submission will argue that the name changes did not receive a satisfactory public participation process. It will also object to Uitenhage’s name change to Kariegabut.

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Nelson Mandela City

Mayor Nqaba Bhanga said that the community was not completely opposed to a name change – commenters indicated that ‘Nelson Mandela City’ might be a better fit for tourism purposes and because of the historical relevance of the late former president, Mandela to the area.

In February, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa gazetted the controversial changes, which he indicated were for transformation purposes.

“There was a need for the name changes as this is part of a government programme to transform South Africa’s heritage landscape. The names of places we live in reflect the identity and cultural heritage of the people of South Africa,” he said.

Last month, the DA said that ANC has gone too far and submitted its own parliamentary questions to the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture regarding the cost behind the project as well the public participation process.

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